LAHORE: A team of the Lahore police arrested anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan from Chakwal and handed him over to the city’s Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) in a case lodged against him at the Civil Lines police station.

The case was lodged by a citizen, Muhammad Asif, a resident of Lahore’s Faiz Bagh area, on charges of abetment of mutiny and criticism of state institutions.

The journalist, who was taken into custody by Attock police near Islamabad on Tuesday night, was granted relief by a local court in the wee hours of Thursday, but was immediately arrested by a team of Chakwal police outside the courtroom.

Bef­ore shifting him to Lahore, a local court of Chakwal district had allowed his judicial remand.

In the latest first information report (FIR) against Mr Khan to come to the fore, the complainant alleged he was browsing the internet when he saw a video clip of the journalist criticising the Pakistan Army. Mr Asif alleged that Imran Riaz accused the army of violating human rights and damaging the state by indulging in politics.

Mr Khan further said the army had put Pakistan’s integrity at stake, the complainant alleged, adding that the journalist committed an offence by inciting officers and other personnel of the army.

The complainant mentioned that recently Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had awarded army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with the King Abdulaziz Medal for making “significant contributions to defence cooperation” between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Asif alleged in the FIR that the journalist also mocked the Saudi government’s decision in his video, and that Gen Bajwa went to Riyadh to seek the Kingdom’s financial help for the incumbent government in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, an official said police handed over the journalist to the CIA Kotwali police for interrogation. He is likely to be presented before the duty magistrate on Saturday (today).

Meanwhile, Mr Khan’s counsel, Mian Ali Ashfaq, alleged that police tried their best to shift his client to an undisclosed location, but his friends and brothers foiled the attempt. He said the journalist had been implicated in more than 20 criminal cases lodged against him in various police stations across Punjab.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2022

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